Location and mobility are joined at the hip. After all, you literally use your smartphone to navigate the physical world. There’s also an emerging body of evidence showing mobile users respond well to ads with localized content and messaging. Indeed, most localized ads perform better than “generic” ads, especially on mobile devices.
According to 2011 survey data from JiWire, 63% of survey respondents said they were “more likely” to engage with ads relevant to their locations. And 80% said that they preferred local ads. Response rates to local-mobile ads are many times higher than ads on the PC as a rule.
Everyone’s Got “Geotargeting”
Almost everyone reading this column knows about mobile search options on Google (and Bing). What about on the display side, where there are a huge number of impressions — especially in apps? All the major mobile ad networks including AdMob, Jumptap, Millennial Media, InMobi, Mojiva and others offer “geotargeting.”
The operating assumption is that all mobile networks can equally geotarget and give marketers the kind of local precision that matches the phone’s GPS capabilities. In other words, because the phone can tell what’s nearby and pinpoint user location, advertisers assume they can equally access that level of targeting for their mobile ad campaigns.
Location Precision Is Highly Variable
In practice “geotargeting” on mobile display networks can be highly variable. It typically means DMA or city level targeting. In fact only about 5 percent to 10 percent of mobile ads gain access to a lat-long. Most mobile ads don’t get ZIP-level targeting either.
Most of what mobile marketers get access to is no better than IP targeting, which can be very imprecise. Some networks or publishers may claim to be able to deliver lat-long precision but they’re usually misrepresenting what’s available, in the same way that online ad networks misrepresented that they could target by ZIP for years, when they were really just doing IP sniffing.
City or metro-level targeting may be fine for many marketers. But if you’re really serious about location targeting and seeking higher quality local impressions you should take a look the networks that specialize in delivering localized and geotargeted impressions.
Meet the Local-Mobile Ad Networks
The table below presents a high level overview of most of these specialized local-mobile ad networks. Even they are not all equal in terms of reach, targeting and other options. However if you are an advertiser or agency interested in localized mobile marketing you should definitely take some of these networks out for a test drive…